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Cheating: an alternative approach

We appear to have a cheating epidemic in every sport, from drugs in tennis to professional fouls in football. The authorities respond with more an more legislation and  increased surveillance; but to little avail. I think a more innovative approach is required. For example why not legalise the use of non-life endangering drugs in tennis? This would level the playing field, and since the public want to see the best why not let the best be even better?

In Bridge we have seen  a few high profile cheating cases but the proceedings just rumble on and on, seemingly without hope of resolution. There also looms the distinct possibility of legal challenges to any disciplinary action taken. It is likely that what we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg, how many more cheats are out there? I have proven to my own satisfaction that it is possible to cheat without ever getting caught.

So why not legalise 'alternative' methods of communication between partners? This would make it fair for everyone. If you want to indicate attitude by the placement of your lead card, go ahead. I would legalise all signals that rely on the physical placement of bids or played cards; the proviso being that if spotted you must give a full explanation to your opponents. Signalling via coughing/sneezing etc would still be outlawed because they are too easy to disguise "no agreement, my partner has a cold", and also because of the risk of spreading germs. Kicks under the table are also not allowed due to the risk of injury.

I would also legalise all 'coffee-housing' type activities such as hesitating with a singleton; once these are lawful tactics they lose their effectiveness.

I realise that these are radical proposals and that it will take significant time to implement; I propose that we aim to start a trial one year from today.



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